Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Who loves puzzles?

We do!! My kids absolutely LOVE puzzles, specifically Ilana, so when I read about this idea and told Michael about it, we decided to do it! It's a puzzle fundraiser! We decided on this puzzle (well, actually, Ilana did):

We wanted something with an African theme, and if you know Ilana, you know that her favorite animals are elephants! She said this one is perfect because there's a big elephant for each of us and her new brother or sister and that the baby elephants are for her other brothers or sisters we're going to adopt someday - boy I love how her mind works! She knows my heart and that I won't be able to stop at just one. What can I say? ;) Thank goodness God made Michael's heart the same way!

Anyway, basically the way this fundraiser works is that you "buy", or basically sponsor, a puzzle piece using the paypal button below or to the right using one of the suggested prices. (But those are just suggested and we're welcome to ANY donation, even if it's just $1. So if you want to buy a piece at a different price, please use the donate button to the right and just be sure to let us know what it's for!)

Donation Options

When a puzzle piece is sponsored, we will write the name of the donor and/or a short special message (if you want) on the back of the puzzle piece. As the pieces are sponsored, we will put the puzzle together. When the puzzle is fully sponsored and put together, we are going to use a special puzzle glue to keep it together and put it in a double sided glass frame which will be hung in our living room. Every time we see the puzzle portrait, we will be reminded just how many people it took to help bring our child home. And when our child is old enough to understand and read, he/she will be able to look at the back of the puzzle and read the names and messages of how many people loved them enough to help bring them HOME! Isn't that awesome? It's something that will be very treasured in our house, that's for sure!

Just click on the link above, after selecting the option you want, and when you check out, be sure to write in the comment/message box the name/s and/or message you want written on the puzzle piece! You can do a puzzle piece for your whole family, or one piece per family member or however you'd like! :)

Thank you to everyone who has supported us this far! We honestly could not have done it without the amazing family and friends that we have!!

Slowly getting somewhere...

A couple weeks ago we finally received our completed, finalized, and notarized home study, via Fedex! I tried really hard not to attack the Fedex man when he dropped it off, because I wanted to make a copy of it and send off our I-600A application, AKA Application For Advance Processing of Orphan Petition. This allows us to get our FBI fingerprints and then hopefully, after review of the fingerprints and application and home study, we will get our I71H, which is officially called the, “Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Procession of an Orphan Petition”. This notice is our very last document we need to send off our dossier to Ethiopia! It is basically the approval that we can raise a "foreign" child in the US.

Anyway, I received that at 4:45 in the afternoon. All the post offices, besides one, closes at 5, the other one closes at 6. By the time I made copies and gathered the documents together, I made it to the post office with 10 minutes to spare! The awesome postal worker even held the USPS truck that was getting ready to leave, since I was sending it Express Mail! They received it the following day and last Saturday, we received receipt from them saying to keep an eye out for our biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment. Hoping to get that soon!! :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ethiopian Adoption News

Some of you may have heard the latest news on Ethiopian adoption, but I know many of you have not. I've waited to post much until more information has come around, but decided to go ahead and explain it all now. A week ago, this article was posted and spread like wildfire: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/-Ethiopia-to-Cut-Foreign-Adoptions-by-Up-to-90-Percent-117411843.html

When I first read it, I felt scared, nervous, and upset, and prayed immediately, wondering what was going to happen to our adoption plans. God covered me with peace and reassured me that He has brought us this far and will not leave us stranded. This article was sent out the day of our yardsale, but yet, God still reassured me with the various Africa sightings (if you didn't read about that, please read the post below this one). This may slow down the adoption process a lot, but we're not giving up. I KNOW God has our third child somewhere in Ethiopia and I am not abandoning him/her, regardless of how long it will take to reach him/her!! God didn't give me these dreams for no reason! :)

The reason for these changes are due to adoption ethics and fraud. An awesome woman and fellow adoptive Ethiopian adoptive parent (and they are leaving to meet their second in less than a week!) posted a blog saying some of the exact same things I was thinking regarding all of this. Please read: Adoption Ethics

Because of all of this, Joint Council has created an Emergency Campaign for Ethiopia. If you support ethical adoption and want to help fight for it, please sign the petition HERE and spread the word!!! In the meantime, just pray, pray, pray! God has a great and mighty plan, I just KNOW!


Also, off topic, but we're going to try to have a picture every Friday showcasing our adoption tshirts! We're wanting a picture of anyone wearing one of our shirts! If you have bought a shirt and are willing to share a photo that will be showcased on our blog on Fridays, please e-mail it to nunezfamilyadoption@gmail.com ! :) Thanks!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Yardsale for HOPE update!

After weeks of receiving donations, our house, garage, and lanai became consumed with "stuff"!

Here is our garage

Our playroom - with Ilana and Aydan's toys taken out and donated toys put in. This was only about half of it!

I spent this past week organizing and pricing the items and stayed up until past 2am Thursday evening (or I guess Friday morning) working on making up rice krispies, along with homemade cinnamon rolls to bake in the morning for our bake sale, then we woke up just a couple hours later to get started on setting up. That day went very well - lots and lots of people came, but we still had plenty left (and found even more in the house and forgot to put out)! Almost all of the baked goods were sold!

Bakesale items - thanks to my mom for helping bake some stuff - chex mix, crescent rolls, and cinnamon swirl orange bread! Thanks, Mom!! There were also cinnamon rolls in the styrofoam boxes and rice krispie treats.

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls!

Regular and Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats shaped like Africa!
I made a huge mistake and forgot to put sunscreen on and ended up getting burnt! I was exhausted, stressed,  and overwhelmed and ended up bursting into tears for no reason around 2 o'clock as the sale ended for the day. Not really sure why! After that incident my mom and sister made me eat some lunch, which really helped! After pulling myself together and heading back out to start putting everything back up, I found something in our sidewalk. There has always been a little chunk missing, but I never thought much about it. I was carrying stuff into the house and glanced down and wanted to cry again, but thought maybe I was just seeing things and emotional. I called my mom over and said, "What does this look like?!?" And my mom said "No way! You're kidding me!" So... What's this look like?

Call me crazy, but that looked so much like Africa (to me) and it was just the encouragement from God that I needed... I ended up going to bed early at 8pm after the kids went to bed and was up at 6 the next morning to start the yardsale again!

Ilana found a little friend to join her!

And Aydan was just enjoying the baked goods! (In our house full of stuff, we have somehow lost his glasses... :( We have NO idea where they are!)

Here's a picture of the sign that we displayed so people could see what the proceeds of the adoption was going for

Overall, today went really well. It was much slower than Friday, but we were still blessed with a good attendance! Out of the probably hundred or more people that attended, we only got one bad/mean comment. A man had asked what the adoption fund was for and Michael explained that we were in the process of adopting from Ethiopia, and he made an awful face and said "Well, I'm not going to buy anything then. There are kids here in the United States that need help. We don't need to be helping those other countries." I held my tongue and responded with "Well, God leads everyone in different directions!" I just let it go and remembered that despite his hurtful comment, he was still loved by God, and I should love him too....

Anyway, I learned my lesson from the day before and made sure to put sunscreen on, but all throughout the morning and afternoon my arms, neck and face still seemed to be burning and getting more red, so I'd just keep slathering on the sunscreen. I learned a very valuable lesson - always check the expiration on sunscreen... Mine had expired Feb of 2010!! Turns out, the bottle I grabbed, which I thought was a new bottle I just bought a few months ago, was actually a bottle of the same kind, but a few years old. It didn't help at all and I am burnt even more! :(

Me and my farmers tan (or burn). See how red I am? I hurt, needless to say....

Anyway, the sale drew to an end and we still have lots left, but we'll be donating the remaining to Salvation Army and Craigslisting some of the bigger items. I was tempted to do a "Fill a Bag Sale" (where you fill a bag with anything and pay just a dollar or two), but at this rate, I'm just too tired and exhausted to do it again... But again, God encouraged us in His own special way. It was a reassurance for me; that we're still following God's plan! We were cleaning up and we had a cooler full of water from ice that had melted, so I dumped it out. Didn't think much of it until Michael said "Is it just my imagination, or what does that look like?"

The water I had dumped from the cooler, that ran down the driveway. How it ran to look like this, we have no clue... It even came back together at the top, which is hard to see, since it's dark, but what do you think (minus the little bit down the bottom middle)? Africa again? Or maybe we're just nuts! :-P

I just wanted to say to everyone who came out, bought stuff, and supported us: THANK YOU! From the bottom of our hearts, we appreciate it SO much! For those who couldn't come, but prayed for us, thank you, too! We couldn't have made it without your prayers!

A special thank you to friends and family that helped us make this yardsale happen! Thank you to my family and all your help!! And a very special thank you to my sister, Becky, and my parents who helped us SO much in preparing for the sale, pricing items and helping organize, along with being here all day yesterday and today (even waking up super early to help set up). I couldn't have done it without you and don't know how to thank you!!

Now, are you curious for the total from the sale? I was hoping we'd make enough to pay for the rest of our dossier and possibly for the authentication fees. We needed $1800 more for the dossier or $2300 more for the dossier AND authentication fees... We made $1773.25! Awesome, huh?? Isn't God amazing?! He is providing every step of the way!!! Overall, it was all SO worth it!! (Just please don't touch my arms! I'm hoping to wake up and have a tan instead of a burn... We'll see! ;) )